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It is summer in Houston, and last night our bedroom A/C went kaput! My first reaction was to grumble, but then I reminded myself to “choose happiness!” I was thankful we had a guestroom to sleep in that had cool air and a fan. As we crawled into an unfamiliar bed, I was quickly reminded of the times I preached to others: “Every good hostess should sleep in her own guestroom for one full night. You will immediately see what is missing!”

Today, where we see every form of fashion on our streets, the question of men and shorts still produces uncertainty among many. There is a reason for this that is embedded in our DNA, and to fully understand we need to explore a little history.

“What are the main table manners children should know?” A common question I am frequently asked. Yet I have a tough time narrowing my answer. I pick my top three, then a fourth pops into my mind. Then a fifth. We may not all attend black-tie events, but we do all eat. Your children will one day be placed in a situation where they need to skillfully know their way around a dining table.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to take a special look at the precious women in our lives that hold the title of Mother-in-law. Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that can serve me well, but when it gets me into trouble, I just blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created. 

Remove your hat! Don’t set it on the table! Never let someone see the lining! Women, keep your hat on! Women, take your hat off! Ahhh…..I’m so confused!!! The old rules of hat etiquette were so straight forward, and everyone knew what to do. A gentleman removing his hat inside a building was as second nature as brushing his teeth. In today’s changing society, there is much confusion about hat etiquette, for both men and women, so let’s solve this mystery by starting with the “why” of hat protocol.

Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Or maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. If this resonates with you, it might be time to brush up on the finer points of being a good listener, while teaching your family to do the same. Below are 11 tips to help you get back on track so you can start enjoying deeper and more meaningful communication with those you love.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV).

 

When I am tired and my mind does not seem to focus on a deep study of the Bible, I will flip to Proverbs to keep focused on God’s Word in a more simplistic way. Yet, every time I read this book, I walk away amazed at the power it brings and thankful for the renewal I feel. The verse I read today really resonated with me.

As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:

As a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers, it is a challenge to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Pulling the children away from their toys, getting them seated at the table, cutting up their meal, blowing on food that is too hot, and calling my husband away from his work can be exhausting.

Sometimes you just need to re-post tips that were great to read. I find myself saying this quite often when it comes to The Gottman Institute. They are some of the leading relationship experts in our country, and the research they did on trustworthiness is very informative.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

  • Cecelia Zook

Roasted Turkey with Field Herbs Taste Test



Happy Foodie Friday! These recipes come courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com


Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!


Such a pretty bird! The Roasted Turkey with Field Herbs was a lovely dish on our family table. It was moist and flavorful, and the aromatic, fresh herbs seeped through the entire turkey. After about an hour and a half of cooking, I added a cup of chicken broth to the pan, tented the turkey with some foil and basted it every now and then. This wasn’t in the recipe, but I think it helped keep the breast especially tender.  The best thing about the recipe is that it was so easy! I had plenty of time to pull together some great side dishes for our gorgeous and tasty dinner. Bring on Thanksgiving, I am ready!


Roasted Turkey with Field Herbs
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Makes 8 to 10 servings

Time: 3.5-4 hours


Ingredients:

*1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

*1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

*12 sprigs fresh thyme

*6 sprigs fresh sage

*1 cup rough chopped fresh parsley

*1 fresh turkey (10 to 12 pounds) (Make sure to buy your turkey early and give it time to defrost!)

*1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon salt

*1/4 cup black pepper

*1 small yellow onion, cut in quarters

*7 cloves of garlic, crushed

*3 long carrots, cut in half lengthwise



Preparation:

*Preheat oven at 400F.

*Melt the butter on low heat, then turn off the heat and add the lemon zest to the melted butter.

*Remove the giblets out of turkey cavity and discard.

*Arrange the carrot halves across roasting pan.

*Take turkey and sprinkle the salt and black pepper in turkey cavity and rub well to evenly distribute the seasoning.

*Insert all the herbs, onion quarters, and garlic cloves inside the turkey cavity.

*Tie the legs together as tight as possible with kitchen string to securely close the cavity.

*Tuck the wing’s tips under the turkey body, and place turkey on roasting pan making sure it sits nicely on top of the carrots.

*Brush the melted lemon-infused butter all over the turkey and sprinkle a tablespoon of salt all around top of the turkey.

*Place in the oven and roast the turkey for 30 minutes at 400F, then lower oven temperature to 325F and roast for 3 more hours or until internal temperature of thighs read 170F. (After about an hour and a half of cooking, I added a cup of chicken broth to the pan, tented the turkey with some foil and basted it every now and then.)

*Remove the turkey from the oven, place on kitchen countertop, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

*Slice the turkey, serve, and enjoy.


Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook